Johannesburg, May 25 (BNA): At least 17 people have died in a cholera outbreak in the town of Hamanskral outside Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, authorities said Wednesday.
The death toll is up from an initial 10 deaths reported by local health authorities earlier this week, the Associated Press reports.
Authorities said there were 29 laboratory-confirmed cholera cases, while 67 people were admitted to hospital and clinics due to infections of the gastrointestinal tract.
Health authorities have yet to confirm the exact source of the cholera outbreak, but poor wastewater management and instability of local government in the South African capital have been blamed.
The Tshwane City Municipality, which hosts Pretoria and its surrounding areas, has had at least five different mayors since the ruling African National Congress lost control in local government elections in 2016.
The city’s mayor said the Pretoria water plant responsible for managing sewage for large parts of Hamanskral needs urgent upgrades that cost around $130 million and has not been working properly for years.
“He has run out of energy since about 2005,” said Celier Brink, Tshwane’s executive mayor who was elected in March.
Cases of cholera in Africa have been attributed to local sanitation problems, but also to weather factors such as cyclones and floods that have recently hit parts of southern Africa, as well as a global shortage of cholera vaccines.